Review of the Best Art Schools in South Carolina

In the heart of the American Southeast, South Carolina boasts expansive beaches, charming towns and the historic city of Charleston, home to the large Gibbs Museum of Art. Charleston hosts the annual MOJA Festival celebrating African American and Caribbean arts, music and culture, an event representative of the diverse cultural influences that have shaped the arts in South Carolina.

Just outside of Charleston is Middleton Place, the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States. Columbia, SC’s largest city is home to the Columbia Museum of Art and boasts an expanding art and theater scene in its revitalizing downtown. Other South Carolina landmarks include the Spartanburg Art Museum, and Brookgreen Gardens, in Murrells Inlet South Carolina, a national historical landmark with the world’s most significant collection of figurative sculpture by American artists in an outdoor setting.

SC is home to noted art & design schools such as Winthrop University (est. 1886) accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Council for Interior Design, and the University of South Carolina-College of Visual and Performing Arts (est. 1801), accredited by the National Association for Schools of Art And Design (NASD).

A number of liberal arts colleges and universities in South Carolina offer programs for students interested in pursuing studies in the fine arts, graphic design and related fields. The College of Charleston, for example, was founded in 1770 and is the 13th oldest college in the U.S. The school is located near the Gibbes Museum of Art and offers majors in Arts Management, Art History, Music and Studio Art.

The Visual Arts Program at South Carolina State University offers a Bachelor of Art in Studio Art with concentrations in Ceramics/Sculpture, Digital Media, and Printmaking as well as a Bachelor of Science degree program in Art Education for individuals wishing to teach art.

The largest SC Universities include the University of South Carolina-Columbia with a total enrollment of over 27,000 and Clemson University, located in Clemson South Carolina and enrolling over 17,000 students. Both schools offer degree programs for students interested in a career in fine art or commercial art and design.

Winthrop University, in Rock Hill South Carolina, offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Ceramics, Jewelry/Metals, Painting, Photography (both commercial and fine art), Printmaking, Sculpture and Visual Communication Design (in illustration or graphics). The emphasis is on combining creativity and community and preparing students for the technical, aesthetic and intellectual challenges of understanding the changing global environment, and preparing for careers working creatively in the arts in their communities.

Coastal Carolina University is a small school located in Conway South Carolina, near the lovely oceanfront community of Myrtle Beach and owns it’s own 1,000 acre barrier island on the Atlantic coast. The school offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Studio Art and Graphic Design with coursework in ceramics, painting, photography, printmaking, art education and art history. The program allows students to explore many media before choosing a focus and producing a body of original work exhibited in the university’s Rebecca Randall Bryan Art Gallery.

Most liberal arts schools teaching art and design provide a grounding in art history, design theory, media and technique, as well as computer technology. Students develop portfolios with samples of their completed projects to present to potential employers, graduate schools or galleries if they decide to pursue careers as independent artists or artisans.

There is a significant demand for creative people in all industries in SC. Artists and designers can find employment in corporations creating advertisements, brochures, logos and packaging and product designs. They can work in agencies, design firms, film and media companies and publishers, as well as museums, and galleries.